gravity

I have always been very much an earthbound kind of person,
which I always thought was a function of my weight, mostly. You know, gravity
and attraction to the Earth with a force proportionate to the mass of my butt.
Of course, that is not the whole story, because I am also blessed with a
complete lack of coordination and a tendency to plod rather than gracefully
pick my way across the earth with a lightness and elegance that is a beauty to
behold. I had, in a tiny little part of my brain, hoped that this would change,
somewhat, as I lost the weight and became, literally, lighter on my feet, but
that is not so much the case, to my great dismay and sorrow. I am still a
plodder, still, sometimes distressingly, very solid with two feet planted
firmly on the ground, except for when I pitch forward and land on my head. Also
gravity, and the size of my head, no doubt.

I’ve always been very aware of how very attached to the
ground I am, and yet, I have always been very prone to being picked up. My
whole life, at almost every size except my largest, people have evinced the
urge to pick me up and haul me around like a sack of groceries, and that is
something I do not understand at all—mostly boyfriends, sometimes friends and
family members. What is it about me that makes people want to hoist me up off
the earth? Did I look like a challenge? She weighs 250 pounds, but I am so
manly! Watch me flex my manly muscles in a manly, muscle-y kind of way! And
then there was the wrapping of the arm, and the grunting and the heaving and the
flailing as I screamed put me down put me down oh my god I’m too heavy, put me
down.

All it did was make me realize exactly how heavy I was,
which was something I never liked to think about, and it let the other person
know exactly how heavy I was, which is something I spent a lot of time trying
to hide, and hoping no one noticed. But when you’ve got an armful of me, there
is no getting around the forces of gravity and the weight of my body, and
mostly he’d let me kind of slide back down and he’d look kind of sheepishly at
me and I’d be flustered and probably fall down when my feet hit the ground, and
we’d never speak of it again.

It made me sad; I’ll admit that. There’s a part of me that
makes people want to pick me up and toss me around, and there’s a part of me
that kind of likes that. That doesn’t want it, that hates being hoisted up and
feeling vulnerable and out of control, but still likes to be piggybacked. What
is that? I don’t even understand it. Was it proof I wanted, that I’m not as
big as I felt? Did I want to feel tiny and delicate, when everything about me
was anything but? Was it something caveman like, primitive,
anti-goddamn-feminist, wanting to be small and delicate and protected? I do not
like thinking about that. I do not like admitting that this might be a
possibility. I do not want to be picked up, but a part of me likes it.

But it’s there, that weird little half-wish, and maybe
that’s what people have been reacting to, when the urge strikes them to heave
me up and throw me over their shoulders.

I hadn’t thought about it, in a long time, after I gained to
my highest weight, and then I was too heavy for anyone to lift, and often felt
too heavy for myself to lift. But heading back down the scale, it’s suddenly
become a factor again. When I met E., he told me I was wee, and he could lift
me with one hand, and he did, and I shrieked and begged to be put back down
again, because I still felt heavy—I could feel my weight dragging me back down,
and I could feel the effort it took for him to lift me, and it embarrassed me
as much as it ever did.

As I have lost more weight, it keeps happening. I run into
people who have not seen me in ages, and they say, "You’re so small!"
and I’m up off my feet when they hug me, and it is taking less effort, every
time—I do not feel so huge and like they’re going to get a hernia, lifting me,
and it worries me that I laugh, now, instead of struggling to get down. I feel
so light, not as if I am being dragged down out of their hands by my bulk. I
don’t feel the weight of my body. It is the most physical manifestation of the amount of weight I’ve lost, and the
size I am now, that I have ever experienced, and there is something
exhilarating about it, and something awful.

Hanging out with a friend the other night, waiting for the
train, there was no place to sit. "Here," he said. "Sit up
here!" Two flat-topped poles, about a foot and a half too high for me to
jump up on. He lifted me up by the armpits and set me on top, and it felt completely
effortless, for him and for me. I fell off. "Try to balance!" he
said, and lifted me again, just as easily. It felt like he could have thrown me
into the air, and I might not have come back down again. It was the strangest
feeling.

  3 comments for “gravity

  1. anon
    October 18, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Funny, the IDEA of being hoisted up always appealed to me too, what it suggested about what people felt about me, their desire to be that close and fun and affectionate with me.

    But the actual DOING, well, that rarely happened, thank the gods, because it would have just freaked me out at almost 220 lbs. I didn’t want anyone to even try, and usually they didn’t, although deep down I always thought, how great would that be? Why can’t I be that girl?

    And now? Sadly, I still can’t stand it, at least in reality, although in theory it still appeals to me. When my love tries to playfully grab me and throw me over his shoulders I freeze, and then I pull the dead weight (you know, like when you try to pick up your little nephew, and he’s resistant because he doesn’t want to go to bed or whatever, and suddenly his tiny frame seems to weigh so much more than a four year old actually could, because he is willing his body to not be pick-up-able), and I yell, No no no no, don’t pick me up, I’m too heavy!

    And he sighs and puts me down and I think, damn, why do I always ruin things like that? Don’t do that, Anne. Don’t be like me.

  2. October 18, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Oh, god, that sounds so awesome. I have that secret girlish thrill that loves being picked up – even now, my husband can still lift my fat ass and it makes me feel so… I don’t know. Delicate? Tiny? Girlish? Something. Something wonderful that makes me squeal with delight. Right there, the idea of being picked up all the time, that’s making me suddenly think surgery ain’t so scary-sounding after all.

  3. October 19, 2007 at 12:52 am

    I too have the people want to lift me thing even though I clearly weigh too much for them to lift. Though when some succeed, I giggle and shriek and it makes me feel giddy, like I could possibly not be a monster but someone that others can pick up.

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